SW Washington fishing report

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The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

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High water vexing anglers in some tributaries, while other rivers are fishing great for coho on the drop. Fishing in the Columbia is pretty much over, with the action slowing in most places. Trout action is improving in local lakes.

Vancouver Metro Area


Coho continue to bite very well in those rivers that are on the drop, but a few tribs are dealing with hangovers from the recent high water. SW Washington was luckier than points north, with most streams staying below flood levels.

Lowland trout lakes are beginning to fish well for holdover trout. Black Friday stockings will begin next week, and anglers need not wait for the holiday to fish. The lakes will remain open, so its game on once the trucks drop the trout. You can read Terry Otto’s recent article in the Columbian on Black Friday trout fishing HERE.

Lewis and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—The Lewis is still running high, but many fishermen, bank anglers especially, are doing very well. During the latest creel survey, 37 bank rods kept seven coho and released one coho. 5 boats/12 rods kept one Chinook, one coho and released one Chinook. The high water and heavy flows have pushed the schools of coho near the banks, giving bankies an edge, but the high water has also reduced the areas with good bank access. In a lot of places the water is up into shoreline brush. Anglers are doing well with bobber and eggs or by twitching jigs, and the action has been best from Colvin Creek down to the golf course, with the fish concentrated up by the hatchery.

The Washougal was fishing very well before the high water, but some reports say the schools moved up on the freshet, and are now concentrated in the upper river, where public access is poor. Bobber and bait, or drifted gears were working well, and still should for the fish remaining down low, but those numbers are low. Also, there are few fish left in the Camas slough, and that fishery is pretty much over for the year.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—anglers are doing well for the next year-class of kokanee, although the fish are smaller than the spawners. The water has colored up some, but it does not seem to be affecting the bite. If you get on the fish the water is clear enough for a decent bite. Trolling hootchies or wedding rings tipped with corn behind kokanee flashers is the best way to go, although some anglers are getting the fish by jigging kokanee spoons.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—
The Cowlitz was fishing well before the recent rains, and the river is suffering right now, according to Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313). He reports that he was getting limits by fishing plugs before the river blew out. There is reportedly a landslide on the Tilton River, and that has dirtied the water quite a bit. Before that the fish were taking plugs, spinners, jigs, and bobber and bait. Most of the schools are concentrated up near the Barrier Dam, and within the first couple miles below that. He also reports that the mark rate has been decent, with about half the fish being fin-clipped, retainable fish. There are lots of wild coho in the river, so anglers need to be careful about netting those fish or pulling them out of the water.

The lower sections of the river are not fishing very well right now, since most of the coho have moved up into the upper sections. Dirty, un-fishable water is the cast in all stretches of the river, but especially below the mouth of the Toutle.

The Kalama River is fishing very well, according to John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000. Thompson took a couple coho this week in the lower river, and he reports that there are coho spread through the entire river. He described the fishing as being really good right now, since the river went on the drop, and he said the flush took most of the leaves and other debris out of the river. He has been taking his fish with spinners, and other anglers are getting fish on just about any coho bait, including bobber and eggs, jigs, and plugs.

Klickitat River Fishing Report and Forecast—anglers in the lower river are still getting good bites from the late run coho, and most of the fish have moved in off the mouth, so the fishing is slowing a bit out there. Anglers have been getting them to take spinners or plugs trolled behind 360 flashers. In the river the anglers are getting most of the fish on salmon eggs, jigs, and drifted gear.

Check out Terry's detailed report (he crushes it every week!) and forecast in this week's SW Washington Member's version!

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